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The recent problems surrounding Chinese drywall have been compared to everything from a silent hurricane to the next asbestos. But how do the costs really compare to a hurricane?

Are we more likely to see the quick settlement of claims typical of property damage from hurricanes, or the long reporting lags and hard-fought legal battles typical of asbestos claims?

Based on publicly available information and experience in estimating past construction-related torts, we estimate total economic losses could fall in the $15 billion to $25 billion range–numbers that rival some hurricanes but fall far short of the price tag for asbestos.

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